04/03/11 Shameless!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Friday, April 8, 2011 Under: Sermon
The Letters to the Seven Churches Series - Thyatira

Text: Revelation 2:18-29 (HCSB)

18 To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: “The Son of God, the One whose eyes are like a fiery flame, and whose feet are like fine bronze says: 19 I know your works—your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your last works are greater than the first. 20 But I have this against you: you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Look! I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her practices. 23 I will kill her children with the plague. Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who haven’t known the deep things of Satan—as they say—I do not put any other burden on you. 25 But hold on to what you have until I come. 26 The victor and the one who keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations— 27 and He will shepherd them with an iron scepter; He will shatter them like pottery— just as I have received [this] from My Father. 28 I will also give him the morning star. 29 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

Revelation 3:3 (HCSB)

3 Remember therefore what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. But if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come against you.

Intro: Corruption in the church

The longest message was sent to the church in the smallest city! Thyatira was a military town as well as a commercial center with many trade guilds (clubs or societies). Wherever guilds were found, idolatry and immorality—the two great enemies of the early church—were almost always present too.

The city boasted a special temple to Apollo, the “sun god,” which explains why the Lord introduced Himself as “the Son of God” (the only time in Revelation this title is used). John had to deliver a message of severe warning and judgment to this congregation, which explains the description of the Lord’s eyes and feet. This church for the most part was Shameless! We cannot afford or except Shameless churches in our community.

Application: We must be aware of Corruption.

Greek word: nikaō = Conqueror, Overcome, prevail, victorious

1. Approval of Thyatira: I know your works—your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your last works are greater than the first

Not much of that going on. Good works anyway. The believers in Thyatira were a busy lot! They were involved in sacrificial ministry for the sake of others. What’s more, their works were increasing and characterized by faith, love, and patience; so the church was not guilty of mere “religious activity.”

2. Accusation of Thyatira: But I have this against you: you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Look! I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her practices. 23 I will kill her children with the plague. Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

I don’t know about you but that is the last thing I want to here from God “I have this against you” The Lord found much to expose and condemn in the assembly at Thyatira. No amount of loving and sacrificial works can compensate for tolerance of evil. The church was permitting a false prophetess to influence the people and lead them into compromise. It is not likely that this woman was actually called “Jezebel,” since such an infamous name would not be given to a child. The name is symbolic: I can see it now what’s your daughter’s name? Jezebel.

Jezebel was the idolatrous queen who enticed Israel
to add Baal worship to their religious ceremonies. The seductive teaching of Jezebel was similar to the “doctrine of Balaam” that the Lord condemned in the church of Pergamos. She taught believers how to compromise with the Roman religion and the practices of the special societies, so that Christians would not lose their jobs or their lives.

Not only was the church at Thyatira tolerant of evil, but it was proud and unwilling to repent. The Lord gave the false prophetess time to repent, yet she refused. Now He was giving her followers opportunity to repent. His eyes of fire had searched out their thoughts and motives, and He would make no mistake.

In fact, the Lord threatened to use this assembly as a solemn example to “all the churches” not to tolerate evil. Jezebel and her children (followers) would be sentenced to tribulation and death! Idolatry and compromise are, in the Bible, pictured as fornication and unfaithfulness to the marriage vows. Jezebel’s bed of sin would become a bed of sickness! God would judge the false prophetess and her followers once and for all.

3. Admonition of Thyatira: I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who haven’t known the deep things of Satan—as they say—I do not put any other burden on you. 25 But hold on to what you have until I come. 26 The victor and the one who keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations— 27 and He will shepherd them with an iron scepter; He will shatter them like pottery— just as I have received [this] from My Father. 28 I will also give him the morning star. 29 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

Not everyone in the assembly was unfaithful to the Lord, and He had a special word for them. They had separated themselves from the false doctrine and compromising practices of Jezebel and her followers, The Lord had no special demands to make; He simply wanted them to hold fast in their resistance to evil. “Till I come” refers to Christ’s return for His people, at which time He will reward them for their faithfulness.

Revelation 3:3 (HCSB) Remember therefore what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. But if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come against you.

This is the first mention in Revelation of the Lord’s coming for the church, the event we commonly call the Rapture. Judgment will take place! Christ will return to earth to judge to defeat His enemies and establish His kingdom.

Revelation 19:11 (HCSB) Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.

When the Lord sets up His kingdom on earth, it will be a righteous kingdom with perfect justice. He will rule with a rod of iron. Rebellious men will be like clay pots, easily broken to pieces! Jesus Christ is “the Bright and Morning Star” Revelation 22:16 (HCSB) “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star.”

The promise in vs.28 suggest that God’s people shall be so closely identified with Christ that He will “belong” to them! Perhaps there is also an allusion here to Satan, who wanted the kingdom for himself and who offered the world’s kingdoms to Christ if He would worship him but once. Satan is named Lucifer, which in Hebrew means “brightness, bright star.” The compromising people in Thyatira were following “the depths of Satan,” which would lead to darkness and death. God’s overcomers, on the other hand, would share the Morning Star!

Philippians 1:9-11 (HCSB) And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you can determine what really matters and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that [comes] through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

God’s exhortation to these churches (except Smyrna) is, “Repent! Change your minds!” It is not only lost sinners who need to repent, but also disobedient Christians. If we do not repent and deal with sin in our lives and in our assemblies, the Lord may judge us and remove our lampstand. How tragic it is when a local church gradually abandons the faith and loses its witness for Christ!

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches!”

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